Why Does My Autistic Child Repeat Everything I Say?

Child laughing and playing in leaves with text that reads, "Why does my autistic child repeat everything I say?"

I haven’t brought up this topic because, to me, this is so fundamental that I thought I would be telling you what you already knew, but…after a private message from a concerned parent, I realized this has to be the topic of today’s post.

Autistic children and adults sometimes repeat the words others say as an attempt to communicate verbally. It’s called “echolalia”. It can actually be an indicator of developing verbal language skills.

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The best way to improve communication with your autistic loved one is to understand how your autistic loved one’s mind works! Intentions, motivations, and personal expressions (facial expressions or lack thereof, body language, etc.), are often quite different in autistic people than they are in neurotypical people.

Experience a better understanding of your autistic loved one by reading books about life from an autistic perspective as well as stories that feature autistic characters. You’ll have so many “Ah ha!” moments and start seeing your autistic loved one in a different light (and you’ll have a better understanding of their behaviors, which you may have been misinterpreting up until now).

Books I recommend for a better understanding of your autistic loved one:

Personally, I don’t think it should be ignored or discouraged at all.

Also, even though it can be frustrating to hear the same question repeated back to you instead of an answer, the autistic person is 100% NOT doing it to be difficult or because they know you find it annoying.

Again, they are trying to communicate with you the way you communicate with them, verbally, but they may not have gotten the hang of how reciprocal language works yet.

If you notice this behavior in your autistic child, you may benefit from the help of a speech/language pathologist.

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2 Responses

  1. July 1, 2020

    […] can include repetitive motions such as hand flapping, rocking, repetition of words or phrases (echolalia), vocalizations, or even the repetitive movement of […]

  2. July 30, 2020

    […] Action: Repeating words. […]

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